Champion mare Winx scored an barrier trial win at Randwick today in preparation for her Autumn Carnival debut in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on March 3.
The three times Cox Plate winner competed in a specially convened 1200m trial made up of six Chris Waller trained horses to simulate race day conditions after her planned run in today’s Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) was scraped after her regular race day jockey Hugh Bowman was out due to a careless riding suspension.
Bowman was available to ride Winx today in the trial and Waller saw exactly what he had wished for from the super star mare two weeks before she steps out under real race conditions.
Bowman had Winx quickly into stride from barrier four in the six horse trial and settled the multi-million dollar earner in fourth position behind Mackintosh, McCreery and Unforgotten.
The two stayers in the field Who Shot Thebarman and Libran settled behind Winx.
Bowman eased Winx out on the home turn and she cruised to the front at the 300m to record a very soft three and three quarter lengths win over Mackintosh with almost four lengths back to the third placed Unforgotten.
“It was a good gallop and Huey had to ask her at the 500m to see if she was in turn which is what we wanted to see,” Waller said.
“As you can see race conditions in trials is pretty hard to simulate but it was pretty close today.”
“We have to remember that she had a pretty solid trial today, simulating a race. I know where she is at now and I will have a talk to Hugh soon and see how she is when she comes in terms of how much she is blowing and how long it takes to cool off after the race”
“I think in two weeks time we will have a horse ready to run a solid mile race.”
Winx’s main mission during the Sydney Autumn Carnival will be the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 14, day two of The Championships, for which she is the $1.50 favourite.